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EATING ON THE EDGE: Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que, hot new barbecue spot in Sheffield

All in all, I give Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que two finger lickin’ thumbs up! It's worth the trip. You won't be disappointed!

Sheffield — I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of a new barbecue joint. The wait is finally over and it’s name is Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que — located at 113 South Main Street, on the Sheffield Green, just south of Great Barrington, in what once was Village on the Green Pizza.

Bash Bish Brew & 'Que, on the green in Sheffield, Mass. Photo: David Scribner
Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que, on the green in Sheffield, Mass. Photo: David Scribner

Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que is a collaboration of the three owners — Jesse Watkins, Ana Olivieri and husband Jim Olivieri. And they’ve done a fine job of renovation. After excavating layers of linoleum, they found beautiful ash wood flooring. This discovery prompted a total rehab of the space. Using local sources from wood, to marble, to craftsmen, they’ve given new meaning to “it takes a village.” In contrast to the multi- textured dining room is the kitchen, all done up in pristine white subway tiles. And lest we forget, there are all-important smokers out back.

I tried as many items as possible in my four visits during their soft opening two weeks ago and into their official week of business this past week and was delighted. So let’s get right to it.

The first night we tried two platters, the pulled pork and the barbecued brisket. Each platter comes with two sides. We chose the collard greens, baked beans, French fries, and coleslaw.

Let me start with the brisket. You would never know that beef brisket is one of the toughest cuts of meat available. This brisket is cooked so slowly – it takes close to eleven hours – the pockets of fat simply melt between your tongue and top palate. The slices have a nice crust from the dry rub and so tender you can cut them with a fork, which was the only eating utensil provided. It didn’t slow us down.

Jessie Watkins, out back of Bash Bish, at the smoker. Photo: Anne Dwyer
Jessie Watkins, out back of Bash Bish, at the smoker. Photo: Anne Dwyer

The collard greens are sautéed in lots of butter and heavy cream, with pieces of bacon. They’re closer to a creamed spinach than Georgia collards. The baked beans were also not what was expected. Rather than a Boston baked bean with that sweet brown sugar red sauce, these are the color of dark mahogany with cubes of bacon rendered in their own fat. You may think you taste a molé, but it’s actually malt and a touch of nutmeg in the recipe, and the beans still have the desired texture inside. Fabulous.

The pulled pork is a pile of juicy shredded pork butt. It really didn’t need any additional sauce, but I did have it with the traditional barbecue sauce, which was a nice surprise since it wasn’t the usual sweet red sauce. I prefer the hot Carolina style vinegar so I added some of that too. Alongside that were house cut french fries. Crispy, not greasy, and speckled coarse sea salt. The Cole slaw was traditional with a mayo-vinegar dressing. Just the perfect side for the pulled pork.

Since the sides had been so deliciously unexpected we couldn’t stop, so we ordered an additional side of mac and cheese. No disappointment there. Elbow noodles baked in cheese and heavy cream with a bread crumb crust. Mmmmmm.

Pulled pork sammich with fries and iced tea. Photo: Anne Dwyer
Pulled pork sammich with fries and iced tea. Photo: Anne Dwyer

The second night I needed to taste the ribs and a pizza. First ribs. I declined the offer of a knife, as I prefer to eat my ribs with my hands. No can do. As I lifted the rib bone to take a bite, they had been cooked to such extreme tenderness that the bone slide right out! Wow! A good black crust on the outside and literally, tender to the bone inside. I was not disappointed. I tried the cornbread as a side. It had so much butter in it I needed to lick it off my fingers as I wondered to myself “how much butter is in there?!”. I learned that the recipe hails from the mother of one of the owners.

Now, the pizza, which makes up the second side of the menu. Although they offer eight specialty pizzas, and countless toppings, I chose the standard cheese. A true test of quality. Brooklyn style. A crust that you can really bite into and tear apart. The sauce just right, not too sweet, not garlicky. The only seasoning that came through for me was a little oregano. Topped with plenty of cheese, they manage to still be able to keep the thin crust in the middle of the pie, strong enough to hold up, and it was the color of toast. Another hit!

Brisket burger with fries and collard greens. Photo: Anne Dwyer
Brisket burger with fries and collard greens. Photo: Anne Dwyer

I continued on to the Bash Bish burger, my first burger made with brisket and shortrib meats rather than sirloin, and what a difference! Really juicy, full of flavors, and a generously sized patty.

As I burger connoisseur, I can solidly recommend it. That same night I also had their pulled pork “sammich”. As expected, it was loaded with cole slaw, served on challah bread and dripping down my chin. Yum!

They also offer a variety of starters and home made desserts. I’ve had the chocolate cake and carrot cake. Both were moist and tasty, although the cream cheese icing tasted as if the carrot cake had been uncovered in the refrigerator. They even have vegan and gluten free offerings! A selection to please all, including a menu just for kids.

Bash Bish pizza. Photo: Anne Dwyer
Bash Bish pizza. Photo: Anne Dwyer

Not only is the food great, the atmosphere is great. When you walk in the door, you are greeted with smiling faces all around in a creative setting of wood and corrugated tin. There is a good vibe of enthusiasm, energy and excitement, another recipe for success.

Mac and cheese, plus ribs, at Bash Bish. Photo: Anne Dwyer
Mac and cheese, plus ribs, at Bash Bish. Photo: Anne Dwyer

With a total staff of eight, wearing multiple hats, they have achieved a delicious, memorable, and satisfying dining experience.

Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que is open for dinner Wednesday through Monday 5 until 10 (or when they run out of food. Good for them!).

This week they plan to add lunch starting at noon and will be serving straight through into dinner. If you want to enjoy their offerings in the comfort of your own home, just call 413-248-1187 for take-out.

All in all, I give Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que two finger lickin’ thumbs up! It’s worth the trip. You won’t be disappointed!

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